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Teens sentenced in attack on gay man in Gresham

Defendants range in age from 14 to 19


Five teens who lured a gay man to a Gresham park, where they beat and robbed him at gunpoint, have been sentenced.

The terms range from probation to 30 months, or 2-and-a-half years in prison, said Multnomah County Deputy District Attorney Jenna Plank. Of the five defendants, the youngest was a 14-year-old Gresham girl, the oldest a 19-year-old Gresham man, and the remaining three were 16-year-old boys from Portland and Troutdale.

The only adult in the group, Justin Carey Simms, 19, of Gresham was sentenced in May to 18 months in prison.

Because the other defendants are juveniles, The Outlook is not publishing their names. With the exception of the 14-year-old, all were charged in adult court with assault, robbery and intimidation - the latter of which stems from targeting the victim because he was gay.

They all pleaded guilty to attempted second-degree robbery and were sentenced separately in different hearings, the last of which was on June 10.

The attack happened on a Friday night last February at about midnight when a 24-year-old Clackamas man went to Vance Park, in the 1400 block of Southeast 182nd Avenue, to meet a man he'd been chatting with through an online dating website for a sexual encounter.

He saw a person sitting on a park bench and thought it was the man he was there to meet. But when he approached the person, several masked men and one masked female came out of hiding and while displaying guns, punched and kicked the man.

The man he was there to meet also joined in on the attack.

They stole the victim's wallet, cell phone, keys and shoes before running from the scene.

The victim suffered minor injuries and reported the attack to police.

When police arrested the suspects, they recovered two guns, both airsoft pistols, that were used in the attack.

At the time of the attack, police suspected the group may have attacked other gay men using the same ruse, but no other victims came forward following media report of the arrests.

Plank said none of the defendants had significant criminal records. Also, the victim is doing fine and attended the all of the sentencing hearings.

During the last one, the defendant apologized to him in the courtroom.

"Thanks," the victim said. "That means a lot to me."

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